Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Ice-Cream Truck Surprise

Does just the mention of the word, “lecture”, make you start to feel very...very....sleepy?  When I think of the times I was subject to lecturing (think: boring professor-taught classes at college and the teen-age years), I have to admit, I spent most that time trying to just STAY AWAKE!  Thinking back, I can’t recall any great words of wisdom that were imparted in that setting that stuck with me for life.  

When I think about what sticks with me and what I draw upon for wisdom and direction in my own life, it’s what I saw LIVED out.

Those lessons that were lived out quietly yet with strong conviction in my parents, friends, mentors and teachers are forever emblazed upon the walls of my memory.  These are the wordless words that I treasure.  I love the way Francis of Assis said it, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

Now that I’m a parent, I’m finding this to be one of my greatest challenges.  How can I communicate these important lessons about life to my children without transforming to Professor Lecture (and putting them to sleep)?!

I’m discovering that life itself will present many learning moments and if we are watching for them, those moments can be seized and a BIG action with a FEW words could emblaze an invaluable conviction on the hearts of our little students, no lecture required!

Just yesterday, one such moment arrived in the most unexpected of ways: it was delivered via an ice-cream truck!

My kids and I had spent the afternoon at the park and there could be no sweeter way to end a perfect day than with a treat from the local ice-cream truck!  It was our lucky day when the little black-and-white (I guess it’s supposed to be a cow?!) painted truck loaded with frozen-kid-delights pulled into the parking lot.  After we were all seated at a picnic table and happily getting brain-freezes with red, white and blue firecracker Popsicles, we noticed two sad-looking little girls standing nearby.

I overheard the conversation between the girls and their dad, “Sweetie, by the time I run home to get money and come back, the ice-cream truck will be gone.  I’m sorry.”

I quickly pulled out some cash from my pocket and ran up to the family, “Here, take this.  I know what it’s like to not have some cash on hand when the ice-cream truck arrives!”  The father looked at the money and started to shake his head so I added, “Please, get something for your girls.”  He smiled and mumbled a thanks as they hurried to catch the truck that was about to leave the park.

It was then I realized that was one of those moments when a big action and few words could impart something important to my kids.  My boys were watching wide-eyed and when I sat back down at the table with them, we talked about sharing and being generous.

I was surprised when I asked Gideon, my five-year-old, why we are blessed and he didn’t hesitate to answer, “If God blesses us and we didn’t bless others, that wouldn’t be fair!”  His little brother, Judah, needed a few more gentle reminders before he got the point.  When I asked him why if we were blessed just to keep it for ourselves, he whole-heartily agreed...oops!  But after a little review of what we were learning that day, he seemed to get the main idea (hear it in the kid's own words with a fun video from that day)!

The kids left the park happy (and stained VERY blue!) that day and I felt pretty happy too.  I was amazed at what an ice-cream truck and teachable moment could impart to tiny and impressionable hearts.  All of this without any boring lecture needed and I think my children could say an enthusiastic “thank GOD!” for that!

1 comment:

angela said...

love it- and oh my goodness, Eva Lee is SO cute in that hat!!